Jan 23, 2011

À la recherche du temps perdue

We post comments to New York Times articles on their web edition fairly frequently ("follow me, follow me"), and today we posted a brief comment (no. 64) to Krugman's blog post on relative employment figures comparing the US and France. And so we invoked Marcel Proust, since Proust must have been an expert on unemployment. You've read Proust, right? À la recherche du temps perdue? Do you remember anybody ever holding down a daytime job there, except for the occasional domestique? That's what we were trying to get across to Krugman, although we doubt he will ever read our comment.

Now, this brings to mind a short episode at the FNAC, the leading French bookstore with outlets all over France, including Cannes. Our collection of À la recherche du temps perdue is incomplete, and so we travel to Cannes to buy more Proust, and we enter the book store, and climb to the third floor (all other floors have been taken over by flatscreens (the largest on offer: 99,999 EUR (I'm not making this up)) cell-phones, blue-rays [sic], blue-rays disks [sic], I-tunes, I-pads, I-phones, A-gizmo's, C-gizmo's, etc.. Sokrates, who opposed the newfangled fashion of literacy in his day ("κακή για τη μνήμη κάποιου"), would have been disoriented, Sokrates.

We make it to the third floor and ask a salesperson about Proust. We say "bonjour" first (we've learned our lesson: you don't say "bonjour" first, they will say "bonjour" to you in a way you won't forget), and then inquire about Proust. Marcel Proust. Sure, the salesperson replies, and takes us to the comic book counter. All thirteen volumes. Here's Volume Two:

Good Night and Good Luck (Olberman got fired or something). Bye now.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If noone works in the social class involved in A la Recherche du temps perdu, I saw noone working either in the same social class beyond the ocean in The Razor's Edge of Somerset Maugham.